Readers' Choice Midwest Hikes: Nachusa Grasslands, IL

Explore a vast, trail-free prairie.

Nachusa Grasslands, IL | Aurora Borealis - Isle Royale NP, MI |Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK | Effigy Mounds National Monument, IA | Ice Age Trail, WI | Garden of the Gods to Lusk Creek Canyon, - Shawnee NF, IL

“Nachusa Grasslands is one of the finest examples of a prairie restoration project nationwide,” Heneghan reports. The sea of big and little bluestem grass sprawls over nearly 3,000 acres and features more than 600 species of flowers, grasses, and sedges, plus provides habitat for 180 species of birds. Hike the grasslands from June to September to see a full explosion of color. In mid-June, songbirds chirp as pale purple coneflower blooms. “By September, the grasses take on a spectacular reddish hue,” Heneghan says. 


Driving From Rockford, take IL 2 33.8 miles south to Lost Nation Rd. Turn left and go one mile to a right on Maples Rd. Turn left on Naylor Rd. and left again on Loaden Rd. 3.5 miles later. Then drive 1.4 miles to the park.

Map and Guide Available at kiosk Contact (815) 456-2340,